Our Blog

The official Motribe blog, written by the founders

May 21

Saturday May 19th, 2012 will go down as one of the strangest days I’ve had as an entrepreneur.

Driving to meet a friend at midday I noticed smoke bellowing from what seemed to be the block of building that the Motribe offices belonged to. I did a quick turn and realised that in fact, it was our block that had been creating all of the smoke.

So I pulled over and to my complete disbelief it was the building that we share a wall with that was on fire. I don’t mean that there was a little bit of a flame inside of the first story space, I mean on fire, as in, the windows were being melted.

I had arrived before the fire department and fortunately someone had called the relevant authorities.

The fire department arrived as quickly as one could hope, about ten minutes after my arrival, so now the fire had been going for what was about 30 minutes. I was unable to get up to the office and get anything out (not that there is much in there to bother about really).

At this point I’d like to make mention of the relevance of being somewhat organised as a business owner. There were a few things that made me feel completely calm about the situation we were experiencing.

The first thing was that I had updated my business insurance policy a month ago so I knew that everything was covered.

The second thing that made me feel calm is that we had no on-site servers or data that could be destroyed. Everything that Motribe has is in the cloud, nice and safe.

The third thing is that we don’t own the building and merely rent - with a good lease agreement and lovely landlady.

The final thing that played in our favour is that we trust our team enough to have them take home their laptops with their work on every day and over the weekends. We like the team to work remotely. Sometimes this can suck (if a laptop is stolen) but when it came to a fire, homeward bound laptops were a savior.
The firemen did an absolutely brilliant job. They were tolerant of our frustrations and concerns and dealt with everyone perfectly. They drenched the buildings for three hours and fought the fire until every ember was snuffed out. They saved the Motribe building and our office space.

Unfortunately we’re still not out of trouble; a structural engineer is coming round to the building this week to see if there was any major structural damage and if the building is cleared and safe for us to go back to. Even if that happens, we still need to do a massive clean-up. I managed to get in to the offices late on Saturday afternoon and i was confronted by a deep stench of burned and drenched wood, soot and smoke. The clean-up will take a few weeks.

I want to thank everyone who reached out to us and offered help, assistance, support and office space for the coming weeks, I promise if I Motribe needs space, we’ll call you.

Here are photos from the event:


This is how close we came to burning up